United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: Sep 22, 2020

§ 1980.
Compensation for loss or destruction of commercial fishing vessel or gear
(a)
Definitions
For purposes of this section—
(1)
The terms “fishery”, “fishery conservation zone”, “fishing”, “fishing vessel”, “Secretary”, and “vessel of the United States” shall each have the same respective meaning as is given to such terms in section 3 of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1802).1
1
 See References in Text note below.
(2)
The term “fishing gear” means any equipment or appurtenance which is necessary for the carrying out of fishing operations by a fishing vessel, whether or not such equipment or appurtenance is attached to such vessel.
(3)
The term “fund” means the Fishing Vessel and Gear Damage Compensation Fund established under subsection (f).
(4)
The term “resulting economic loss” means the gross income, as estimated by the Secretary, that a fishing vessel owner or operator who is eligible for compensation under this section for damage to, loss of, or destruction of, a fishing vessel or the fishing gear used with such vessel will lose by reason of not being able to engage in fishing, or having to reduce his fishing effort, during the period before the vessel or gear, or both, are repaired or replaced and available for use.
(b)
Causes of loss or destruction
Subject to the provisions of this section, the owner or operator (hereinafter referred to as the “vessel owner”) of any fishing vessel which is a vessel of the United States is eligible for monetary compensation under this section for any damage to, loss of, or destruction of such vessel, or any fishing gear used with such vessel, or both, and for any resulting economic loss, if the damage, loss, or destruction—
(1)
in the case of such vessel—
(A)
occurs when such vessel is engaged in any fishery subject to the exclusive fishery management authority of the United States under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act [16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.], and
(B)
is attributable to any vessel (or its crew or fishing gear) other than a vessel of the United States; or
(2)
in the case of such fishing gear—
(A)
occurs when such fishing gear is being used for fishing in any fishery subject to such exclusive management authority, and
(B)
is attributable to any other vessel, whether or not such vessel is a vessel of the United States.
For purposes of subparagraph (B), there shall be a rebuttable presumption that any damage, loss, or destruction of fishing gear is attributable to another vessel.
(c)
Eligibility for compensation
A vessel owner is not eligible for compensation under this section with respect to fishing vessel or fishing gear damage, loss, or destruction and resulting economic loss unless such owner—
(1)
makes application to the Secretary for compensation under this section within 90 days after the day on which the damage, loss, or destruction occurred or was first noticed by the owner;
(2)
pays upon making such application a reasonable administrative fee which the Secretary shall deposit into the fund;
(3)
has, in such form as the Secretary shall prescribe by regulation, a current inventory or other evidence of possession of the fishery vessel or fishing gear concerned;
(4)
has complied with all applicable regulations, if any, relating to the marking of, and (if appropriate) the notification of the location of, the fishing gear concerned; and
(5)
is in compliance with such other regulations as may be prescribed by the Secretary to carry out this section.
(d)
Application for compensation; initial determination of eligibility; amount of compensation; review of initial determination; subrogation of United States upon payment
(1)
Application for compensation under this section shall be made in such form and manner, and include such documentation and other evidence relating to the cause and extent of the damage, loss, or destruction, and resulting economic loss, claimed, as the Secretary shall prescribe by regulation. The Secretary shall promptly, but not later than sixty days after receipt of an application, consider, and issue an initial determination with respect to, the application.
(2)
The amount of compensation awarded to any vessel owner under this section shall be—
(A)
the depreciated replacement cost, or the repair cost, whichever cost is less, of the fishing vessel or the fishing gear concerned; and
(B)
25 percent of any resulting economic loss.
Any amount determined pursuant to subparagraph (A) or (B) shall be reduced to the extent that evidence indicates that negligence by the vessel owner or operator contributed to the cause or the extent of the damage, loss, or destruction and shall be further reduced by the amount of compensation, if any, that the vessel owner or operator has received or will receive with respect to the damage, loss, destruction, or resulting economic loss through insurance, pursuant to any other provision of law, or otherwise.
(3)
The initial determination made by the Secretary under paragraph (1) with respect to any application shall—
(A)
if the application is disapproved, set forth the reasons therefor; or
(B)
if the application is approved, set forth the amount of compensation to which the applicant is entitled and the basis on which such amount was determined.
(4)
Any vessel owner who is aggrieved by any decision of the Secretary contained in the initial determination of the Secretary regarding such owner’s application may, within thirty days after the date of issue of the initial determination, petition the Secretary for a review of the decision. If petition for review is not made to the Secretary within such thirty-day period regarding the initial determination, the initial determination shall be deemed to be the final determination on the application. Before undertaking any such review, the Secretary shall provide to the vessel owner opportunity to submit additional written or oral evidence relating to the decision. After review the Secretary shall issue a final determination with respect to the application.
(5)
If compensation is awarded under the final determination on any application, the Secretary shall promptly pay from the fund to such owner the amount of compensation stated in the final determination. Upon the acceptance of such payment by the vessel owner, the United States shall be subrogated to all rights of the vessel owner with respect to which the payment is made.
(e)
Surcharge on foreign fishing vessels

In addition to any fee imposed under section 204(b)(10) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1824(b)(10)) with respect to any foreign fishing vessel for any year after 1978, the Secretary shall impose a surcharge in an amount not to exceed 20 percent of the amount of the fee imposed under such section for such year. The failure to pay any surcharge imposed under this subsection with respect to any foreign fishing vessel shall be treated by the Secretary as a failure to pay the fee for such vessel under such section 204(b)(10).

(f)
Fishing Vessel and Gear Damage Compensation Fund; requirements, etc.
(1)
There is established in the Treasury of the United States the Fishing Vessel and Gear Damage Compensation Fund. The fund shall be available without fiscal year limitation as a revolving fund for the purposes of administering, and paying compensation awarded under, this section.
(2)
The fund shall consist of—
(A)
all sums recovered by the United States in the exercise of rights subrogated to it under subsection (d)(5);
(B)
all administrative fees collected under subsection (c)(2);
(C)
all surcharges collected under subsection (e);
(D)
revenues received from deposits or investments made under the last sentence of this paragraph; and
(E)
any revenue acquired through the issuance of obligations under paragraph (3).
Sums may be expended from the fund only to such extent and in such amounts as are provided in advance in appropriation Acts. Sums in the fund which are not currently needed for the purpose of paying such awards shall be kept on deposit or invested in obligations of, or guaranteed by, the United States.
(3)
Whenever the amount in the fund is not sufficient to pay compensation under this section, the Secretary may issue, in an amount not to exceed $5,000,000, notes or other obligations to the Secretary of the Treasury, in such forms and denominations, bearing such maturities, and subject to such terms and conditions as the Secretary of the Treasury may prescribe. Such notices 2
2
 So in original. Probably should be “notes”.
or other obligations shall bear interest at a rate to be determined by the Secretary of the Treasury on the basis of the current average market yield on outstanding marketable obligations of the United States of comparable maturities during the month preceding the issuance of such notices 2 or other obligations. Moneys obtained by the Secretary under this paragraph shall be deposited in the fund and redemptions of any such notices 2 or other obligations shall be made from the fund. The Secretary of the Treasury shall purchase any such notes or other obligations, and for such purpose he may use as a public debt transaction the proceeds from the sale of any securities issued under chapter 31 of title 31. The Secretary of the Treasury may sell any such notices 2 or other obligations at such times and prices and upon such terms and conditions as he shall determine. All purchases, redemptions, and sales of such notes or other obligations by the Secretary of the Treasury shall be treated as public debt transactions of the United States. All borrowing authority contained herein shall be effective only to such extent or in such amounts as are provided in advance in appropriation Acts.
(g)
Penalty for false or misleading statements

Any person who willfully makes any false or misleading statement or representation for the purpose of obtaining compensation under this section is guilty of a criminal offense and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $25,000, or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.

(Aug. 27, 1954, ch. 1018, § 10, as added Pub. L. 95–194, § 2, Nov. 18, 1977, 91 Stat. 1413; amended Pub. L. 95–376, § 3(a), Sept. 18, 1978, 92 Stat. 715; Pub. L. 96–289, § 4(b), June 28, 1980, 94 Stat. 606; Pub. L. 96–561, title II, §§ 238(b), 241, Dec. 22, 1980, 94 Stat. 3300, 3301; Pub. L. 104–208, div. A, title I, § 101(a) [title II, § 211(b)], Sept. 30, 1996, 110 Stat. 3009, 3009–41.)
cite as: 22 USC 1980